Hiring contingent on criminal background checks

Policy Statement

Most third-party employment background check services deliver historical data going back seven years because that's how long companies are required to keep data and offer different options for customers to initiate the screening process. You basically have two options of initiating an employee background check: You can enter it yourself as an employer, which means you must have that information on hand and permission from the applicant to do so. Or you can send an auto-generated email to the candidate so that they sign and enter that information for themselves. One important consideration you'll need to address offline—and likely with both your IT and legal departments—is what happens to this data after you've taken receipt of a report.

What's in these reports is usually considered highly personal data by the subject, so losing it in a data breach or simply through negligence can have significant repercussions in many cases. Additionally, new developments in data privacy, such as the implementation of the European Union EU General Data Protection Regulation GDPR legislation can place even more responsibility not just on the providers of this data but on those that take delivery of it as well.


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So remember to sit down with your legal and IT teams to put together a simple workflow that will let you not only access this data efficiently but store and dispose of it properly, too. After ordering an employment background check report, turnaround time is a major factor since it's critical not only to how quickly an employer can fill seats but also to how quickly a promising candidate can be locked down. All vendors claim fast turnaround times, but in reality, these are estimates because every report is heavily affected by how quickly outside data resources respond to requests.

Federal databases are fairly quick, but scans across county databases or municipal court records can take much longer. I found some of the vendors mapped completion to these dates, while others gave a short turnaround estimate and then sent status updates notifying me of delays.

Important Considerations

Because of the costs involved, companies tend to wait until the candidate is in the final stages, either right before the company tenders an offer or right after they receive an accepted offer back from the individual. In the latter case, the job offer becomes contingent on passing the employee background check. Credit checks require a separate authorization from job candidates and are not usually run unless the role applied for has fiduciary responsibility.


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  • It's a good idea to research any employment background check service provider you might be considering to determine whether or not they're a NAPBS-accredited service. Out of the six services we reviewed for this roundup, there were only two we could not verify as being NAPBS-accredited services. All three services let users easily order reports, track progress, and communicate with their candidates. They all also deliver a significant number of integrations with other HR applicant tracking systems and data houses, which makes things easier on HR managers.

    Price is the other main differentiator in this employment background check service review roundup; our three winners are competitive in this area.

    Criminal Background Checks

    Plus, they are all transparent when it comes to communicating their pricing prior to engagement; IntelliCorp was the most reasonably priced. Among our other players, A Good Employee.

    Background Checks

    Accio Data offered me a peek inside the back-end side of the Consumer Reporting Agency CRA industry, as its software platform was full-featured, flexible, and able to be quickly rebranded by their CRA customers. Specifically what data is provided by these companies can vary widely depending on the role, location, regulatory factors, and other needs specific to the customer, which means whoever requests and pays for the report.


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    • While a company with a small budget might just check references, those with more resources can employ one of these services to check anything from credit reports to criminal history. Just be aware of how much you're paying, what kinds of data you're requesting, and what happens to that data after you use it. Want to discuss how employment background checks are evolving? Cons: Its report turnaround time estimate was slightly longer than other vendors but was completed within the provided timeline.

      It's built to support companies doing business in a gig economy, with a UI that's modern, mobile, and multilingual. Pros: Competitively priced.

      Reference & Background Checks Policy

      Has a "friendly" vibe similar to Checkr's. Its easy-to-use applicant portal offers an extensive Resources section with a variety of forms and articles that go beyond simple Pre-Adverse and Adverse Action Notice Letters. Cons: The report completion time exceeded the initial estimated time, although it sent new estimate dates that were met. Not multilingual. Pros: Easy-to-navigate user interface. Strong compliancy ethic and commitment to FCRA education. Meets its estimated turnaround times. Bottom Line: IntelliCorp is competitively priced, takes a unique approach to meet estimated turnaround times, meets compliancy requirements, and has a unique setup to facilitate volunteer organization staffing.

      Cons: User interface somewhat generic. Pros: Integrates with applicant tracking systems. Good mobile user interface UI. Branded portals with custom dashboards.

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      Cons: Busy UI. Opaque pricing makes forecasting difficult. Bottom Line: SterlingOne's pre-employment background screening capabilities can be an asset for an HR department that wants employment background check services, although companies may want to go with one of the more comprehensive custom packages instead of the entry-level option.

      Pros: Easy to use. Emphasis on compliance, user education, and report turnaround time. Cons: User interface could use a design update that modernizes without sacrificing ease of use. Software is not multilingual. Though its roots are in real estate management, the solution also works for corporate HR purposes, with solid customer service and reasonable, a la carte pricing. The Best Online Survey Tools for Alyson Behr is a tech writer, editor, and strategic content consultant.

      50.16 - Criminal Background Check Procedures

      With deep roots in testing, industry competitive analysis, and product reviews, Behr has written for numerous IT publications. See Full Bio. This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time.

      Terms of use. Product Checkr. Accio Data. A Good Employee. This is part of an effort to remove the barriers to employment individuals with a criminal history face, which most adversely impacts minority applicants. The guidance to employers is to:. Other states and municipalities are continuously joining this list, so check on the regulations pertaining to your own jurisdiction s early and often.

      In most instances, the regulations prevent background checks from being run until a formal offer to the candidate has been extended.

      The normal background check can be processed. If there are no records returned or if the records irrelevant to the position or occurred seven years or more in the past, proceed with onboarding your new employees. If a criminal record should appear, be sure to follow the necessary federal, state, and local regulations, as necessary. However, should a criminal conviction appear, the contingent offer of employment provides you documented grounds for rescinding the position, if necessary.